Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the RCMP have announced a plan to improve the historically fraught relationship between Inuit communities and police.
According to a Thursday news release from the RCMP and the national Inuit organization, the plan was developed following a meeting between ITK President Natan Obed and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki in December.
The plan focuses on addressing gaps and priorities in policing while building transparency and trust.
“Inuit have long faced discrimination, neglect and violence within the criminal justice system. Our communities’ interactions with police have been strained,” Obed said in a statement.
“With this new workplan in place, we hope to build a new relationship based on respect and mutual trust.”
RCMP provide policing services to the majority of communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.
Through the new workplan, the RCMP said it will work with ITK to share data on suicide, make cultural training mandatory for police officers working in Inuit Nunangat, increase Inuit represent in the RCMP, improve access for Inuktitut speakers, and provide input on the federal Indigenous justice strategy.
Many of the commitments in the workplan reflect recommendations from the national Inuit action plan on Missing and Murdered Inuit Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.
The RCMP pledged to regularly consult Inuit leadership on progress regarding commitments in the workplan.
“Mutual trust, respect and empathy are fundamental components in building healthy relationships between police and Inuit communities,” Luck said in a statement.
“The RCMP is committed to working with the ITK in implementing this workplan to repair, rebuild and enhance our relationships with communities in Inuit Nunangat.”